Anniversaries are often special moments in time when we look back at the past, become more consciously aware of the present, and speculate with a mixture of hope and uncertainty about the future. This seems to be true for Our Lady’s Missionaries as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the congregation.
Looking back with gratitude at the missions and ministries of the past 60 years and the many people with whom we shared the challenges and accomplishments, joys and sorrows, we realize how much has changed during that time.
The world has become a global, multicultural community. The positive effects of globalization allow us to know people of all cultures better. At the same time we see how the negative aspects of globalization help us to oppress one another and the earth. We now recognize that inclusiveness and respect for all, regardless of race, religion, and gender, are urgent goals although sadly not yet a reality.
The natural world is no longer something we can take for granted as being available for our use and misuse. Gradually and too slowly we are accepting the fact that the environment has been badly damaged, that we humans are responsible, and that we have to live differently or we will not survive as a species.
Taking a close look at the present, we have to be aware of how different the world of 2009 is from that of 1949, our congregation’s founding year, and to realize how much Our Lady’s Missionaries has been changing with it. The articles in this magazine will give some indication of the development of our ministries to include, for example, interfaith dialogue, environmental programs, ministry to people with HIV/AIDS, as well as the ever present victims of economic poverty and injustice. The changes so obvious now have been gradual, in response to the needs of the times, aided by a post Vatican II understanding of the meaning of mission. And, for our Sisters, along with much of the population of the Western world, the reality of increased age has had some concrete and practical consequences as well.
And what about the future? Will our past experience help us to have a hope-filled influence on the coming years? Never really sure what lies ahead, will we, with the grace of God and support of one another, welcome new situations as opportunities to respond with faith and generosity?
Our Lady’s Missionaries hope to celebrate our 60th anniversary with gratitude to God for past blessings, conscious acceptance of present challenges, and a resolve to live in a way that will contribute to the continuing growth of the kin-dom of God.∞
Our thanks to Kathy Gillis, editor of Scarboro Missions magazine, and to Sisters Marie Clarkson and Patricia Kay who worked to prepare this issue. We are deeply grateful for the friendship and support of everyone at Scarboro Missions and for all of you who have encouraged and supported us for the past 60 years.